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Week 8


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCB22H3
Professor
Ping- Chun Hsiung

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SG Readings Week 8
The Influence of Physical and Sexual Abuse on Marriage and
Cohabitation- Cherlin, Burton, Hurt, Purvin
Both sets of data suggest that women who have been physically or sexually abused
are substantially less likely to be married or to be in stable, long-term cohabiting
relationships.
The data also suggest that the timing and different forms of abuse may have
distinctive associations with union formation
Women who have experienced abuse beginning in childhood, particularly sexual
abuse, are less likely to be in sustained marriages or stable cohabiting relationships
and instead are more likely to experience transitory unions: multiple short-term,
mostly cohabiting unions
Our central claim is that, for many women, the experiences of physical abuse and
sexual abuse influence intimate relations in ways that reduce the likelihood of
stable, long-term unions
Physical and sexual abuse may affect union formation in several ways.
Exposure to physical abuse by intimate partners in adulthood can create a wariness
about relationships with men that leads women to be cautious about making long-
term commitments or to avoid relationships altogether
At the same time, physical and sexual abuse beginning in childhood can predispose
women toward more frequent sexual unions and multiple, transient relationships,
some of them abusive
Background
timing of abuse-whether it occurred in childhood, adulthood, or in both periods-and
the form of abuse-whether it was sexual or physical-were strongly related to
distinctive union patterns
Childhood Abuse
childhood sexual abuse is more common in one-parent families; carried out by family
members or friends of parents
combined effects of domestic violence exposure and child maltreatment are more
severe than either alone
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Consequences of Childhood Abuse
can have profound long-term consequences for an adult's sexual behavior and
intimate relationships
Traumatic sexual experiences can produce inappropriate sexual behavior and
feelings of betrayal, lack of trust, and powerlessness
In adolescence and adulthood, these conditions can lead to early onset of sexual
activity, riskier sexual activity, and multiple partners
Thus, women who were sexually abused as children may have more frequent sexual
encounters and relationships from which they derive less satisfaction than other
women
n addition, childhood sexual abuse has been linked to relationship difficulties, such
as distrust of others and discomfort with sexual intimacy.
Intrusive thoughts and defensiveness resulting from abuse can prevent the
formation of close relationships
One review concluded that childhood sexual abuse is associated with greater
difficulties in interpersonal relationships, lower relationship satisfaction, and a
greater probability of re-victimization in adulthood
Overall, the relationship difficulties associated with childhood sexual abuse would
seem to be more consistent with frequent, short-term unions than with long-term
unions.
the literature on the consequences of childhood physical abuse suggests a diffuse
array of potential difficulties, including depression, aggressive behavior, and a
diminished capacity for intimacy and trust
There is also some evidence that childhood physical abuse, like childhood sexual
abuse, can predispose adolescents toward multiple sex partners
THEORETICAL MECHANISMS AND HYPOTHESES
showed that some women seemed to have withdrawn from serious relationships with
men altogether, a pattern we will call abated unions.
Even among women who do have intimate unions, the experience of past abuse
could lead to emotional distance from partners and hesitancy to make long-term
commitments
Women who successfully resist abusive men must be resourceful : They must
actively solve problems, respond quickly, and negotiate firmly.
In adulthood, a support network of kin and friends may provide a crucial social
resource that allows women to avoid and escape from abusive relationships
1. Women who have never been abused will be more likely to show a pattern of
sustained, long-term unions than women who have experienced abuse.
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2. Women with a history of childhood abuse, particularly childhood sexual abuse,
will be more likely to manifest a pattern of frequent, short-term nonmarital
relationships, compared to women who have not experienced childhood abuse.
3. Women who were not abused in childhood but encounter abuse in adulthood will
be more likely to show a pattern of abated unions, relative to women who were
abused in childhood and who also encounter abuse in adulthood.
Hypothesis 1: Women with no history of abuse are more likely to be currently
married than to be cohabiting or single, compared to women who have been abused.
Hypothesis 2: Women with a history of childhood abuse, particularly childhood
sexual abuse, are more likely to be currently cohabiting than to be married or single,
compared to women who have not experienced childhood abuse.
Hypothesis 3: Women who experience physical abuse in adulthood are more likely to
be currently single than to be married or cohabiting, relative to women who have not
experienced adult physical abuse.
Women who had been abused in either childhood or adulthood, but not both, were
less likely to experience sustained unions, and women who were abused in both
childhood and adulthood were the least likely to experience sustained unions
among women who had experienced sexual abuse, either alone or in combination
with physical abuse, the most common pattern was transitory unions. In contrast,
among women who had been abused physically but not sexually, the most common
pattern was abated unions
Women who had experienced abuse were much less likely to have sustained unions
Women who experienced abuse beginning in childhood or who reported sexual abuse
(alone or in combination with physical abuse) were more likely to develop a
transitory union pattern in adulthood
Women who did not experience abuse in childhood but later experienced physical
abuse in adulthood were more likely to display the abated union pattern than were
other women
first-generation Mexican immigrant women are more likely to tolerate infidelity
than are their daughters and granddaughters
the majority of mothers in the transitory union category seemed to be
psychologically unaware of the link between abuse and their relationship patterns
a woman who had experienced sexual abuse as a child was three times more likely to
be currently cohabiting rather than married, compared to a woman who had not
been sexually abused as a child
childhood sexual abuse is not associated with a lower probability of being in a union.
Rather, childhood sexual abuse more than doubles the probability of cohabiting),
while reducing the probability of being married
Discussion
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